“How is it that a thirteen year old boy can raise more money than any of our board members?” asked the director of Camp One Step at a Time to open his board meeting. All of the board members were truly in shock at this opener. Did a thirteen year old really raise that much money? Yes, he did. And that thirteen year old boy is my little brother Danny.
In the months leading up to his Bar Mitzvah, Danny informed my family that for his Bar Mitzvah project he wanted to raise money for Camp One Step at a Time. This very special camp is a place for terminally ill kids to escape for a week and have a camp experience that many kids take for granted. Because camp has played a huge role in my life as well as Danny’s, we were all very impressed with his decision. My parents had previously suggested the idea to him, but never pushed him into doing it. When Danny told me he was really going to follow through with this, of course I was proud of him, but I didn’t think he would really be able to pull it off. Could my little brother really do this? My immediate thought was there was no way Danny could make this happen. Both he and I take a lot of things for granted and we never really work for anything. I wouldn’t say that we are selfish, but we always think about ourselves much more than we think of others. But this would soon change.
All on his own, Danny wrote and sent out a letter to all of our family and friends. As people began to receive the letter, our home phone did not stop ringing. Everyone was calling to say how wonderfully personal and inspiring Danny’s letter was. When the phone calls stopped, the donations started to roll in. No matter how big or small they were, Danny gratefully accepted all of them because he knew that every single donation would help his cause. This impressed me because I could see Danny’s selfish tendencies melting away before my eyes.
On the day of his Bar Mitzvah after completing his service, Danny read a speech to all of the people in attendance. He explained what the camp was, what the camp meant to him, and thanked everyone for all of their donations. And then he said the words I will never forget. “With all of your help, I will be able to send three kids to camp this summer!”Everyone, especially me, was in shock. Danny actually pulled this whole project together and made it happen. When I looked at him standing before all of our friends and family, I had never seen him so full of pride in his entire life.
Annoying, difficult, and selfish are typical adjectives many use to describe their siblings. These words exemplify the ways my brother and I used to be before his Bar Mitzvah. But from the moment I saw a changed Danny stand before me and tell everyone what he did to help others, I knew I had to change too. Danny’s speech and actions showed me how helping others not only makes the less fortunate feel great, but it makes you yourself feel like a better person. Danny, a normally shy and timid kid, felt so powerful and proud after he turned in all his donations to the camp. Because of what Danny did, I have changed for the better as well. Before Danny’s Bar Mitzvah, I took so many things for granted and I never took the time to think about others less fortunate than I, but because of Danny I have learned the importance of putting others before myself. The annoying, difficult, and selfish person I used to be took a positive change and developed into a more caring, considerate, and thoughtful human being, all in thanks to my little brother’s push in the right direction.